Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Method 12

I'm almost finished. (I've got to get started on my annual report for this year or I would have drawn this out a little longer.) I sent off the survey a few minutes ago and said nice things I really meant about this program. I liked this version much better than the 23 steps.
I am one of those folks that belonged to more than a dozen email listserves to try to find information on lots of topics. For me the RSS readers were the best thing. I am comfortable with Google Reader now and have found over 40 feeds to read. Some of them are just folks I think are interesting and others are on target for projects I am handling.
Maybe my next favorite thing was what I read about wikis. I am going to have to be involved with creating one for my library in the near future and the various links you included were good background information. The samples you included showed some good and some less good examples.
My least favorites were the social networks. Maybe it is just a generation gap or maybe they are a waste of time (Twitter especially)
What surprised me the most was this blog. I never though I would enjoy just writing something and leaving it out there for the world to read. I think I am more comfortable this time around because I really don't think anyone will ever read this but it is a little like a diary. But easier to correct spelling errors. Will I keep doing this as a life long goal. I don't know> I kept a diary for awhile as a girl ; maybe I'll start again.
If you do this again will I take part. Probably. I have learned a number of things from your various programs in the past. The question would be what to offer. Maybe something about redoing a library on the cheap. I'd enjoy that and in this economy we may need it.
Thanks. It has been informative and enjoyable.

Method 11

I found a lot of great podcasts out there. I found the most on YouTube. I was looking for 2 types of podcats. One, anything on "information commons" my pet project and also anything we could use for bibliographic instruction which is a library project. I swear I though YouTube was mainly for looking up crazy singing cat videos.
Some of the bibliographic instruction ones are specific to certain schools but quite a few of them are generic enough to be used by anyone. Here I go being cheap again. We are planning to use Camtasia to create inhouse videos to teach all sorts of things. I got stuck with creating the script for teaching the Ebscohost databases since that it is one of the things the Reference Dept. teaches in my library. Just before spending hours looking at the steps involved I remembered the help files from Ebscohost. Guess what! Ebscohost used Camtasia to create their own version of tutorials to teach both basic and advanced searching in the Ebscohost databases. I sent the urls to the committee working on our podcats/tutorials and went to get a Cafe Mocha from Starbucks instead.
That's just one example. Looking at some others, we found some topics that we will have to do ourselves but that we had not even thought of doing . This is going to save us lots of time reinventing the wheel. To be honest these are from much bigger schools who often have time to do a series of podcasts. I love the Arizona State University "Library Minutes" series. It is amazing how much information you can pack into a single minute. That one went straight into my Google Reader.
Now back to the singing cats.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Method 10

Wikis do seem to be the way to go for some projects. My library is thinking about starting one for the reference staff so that we can keep up to date on things happening while 9 of us work various everchanging hours on the desk. Right now if some special assignment comes up, we leave notes on the desk or send around an email warning the others what to expect.
Some of the wikis i viewed seem to be very organized and up to date (the ALA ones). Others started off well but seem to have slowed down or even died. I am a little afraid that if this proposed one here at my library takes a lot of time and planning that it could be spending resources and time which we should devote to projects for students. We are going to start doing in house training with camtasia videos and Libguides soon and they will take up a lot of time . On the other hand we may just jump in with little concern for organization and good looks and get started right away on a wiki. For one thing the wiki is "free" and the other projects are going to have to be purchased. And isn't one of the great things about a wiki supose to be the ability to go in and then keep editing it and improving it as we go along.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Method 9

I watch them at the tables in front of the reference desk keying away at those tiny keys with flying fingers and then reading the answers on those even tinier screens. It is another world.
But I do know how to chat. The university installed a campus wide chat line 18 months ago. The library was thinking about putting in Meebo back then (its free remember) but the campus went another way and we followed it. All offices on campus that have a web page have a chat line link right on their home pages as well as one one the university's main page. Our program can track messages, transfer them from one department to another, store prerecorded messages to push out to a patron if they ask a standard question we answer all the time, and of course transfer it to our email if no one is online when the message comes in. We still get more phone calls than chats but the questions are often the same as the ones we get in person. My perference in order is in person, phone, email, and chat. I will never win any texting contest but I can answer most reference questions online.
I like the web based chat service we have although I know that IM from one of the Big 3 services is another options for the future. Our campus just does not want to use it at this time and those decisions are made at a higher level than the library's.
Anyway I forgot that librarys like mine are built of steel and concrete. (a lot of steel and concrete and very few windows.) I have a nice new IPhone with an IM application which will not work the minute I step across the front door. Guess I will have to hope the 3G upgrade coming to my area in Jan. will improve reception.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Method 8

OK let's admit this right up front. I have finally found some Web 2.0 features that I think are a total waste of time. FaceBook and My Space have millions of members and that makes them something I need to be aware of. But Twitter. I have to draw the line at Twitter. Even the word brings to mind great flocks of crows and starlings "twittering" as they settle in for the night. What a waste of time.
Back to FaceBook and My Space for awhile. I have a FaceBook account and I even check it about once ever 3 months or so. I have a young nephew who actually wrote to me a few times. I enjoy his phone calls more. But my library and my university also have FaceBook accounts and I check the library's about once a month. We must be doing something wrong because my account has more activity than the library's. I think we got swept up in the Web 2.0 frenzy and decided we wanted a FaceBook page. That's not a very good reason for doing it but it was "free" and you know how I like free or cheap. We can improve as we go along I guess. One of our problems is that we do not have an official presence on FaceBook like we do for our webpage. I understand the purpose of a personal page in Facebook but for a public library or an academic one I think there needs to be more structure and a certain predetermined committment to try and make it succeed. I just don't want to be the person who gets that job.
One more thought. Does anyone else remember 20 years ago when almost every one just had to have a CB in their car. Where are all those CBs now. And will there be a thriving FaceBook in 20 more years.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Method 7

I must admit that the first thing that attracted me to Delicious was the fact that I can never keep my various favorites/bookmarks in sync on my 3 computers; laptop, work and home. Here is a product that would let me look up that new favorite from anywhere. I did not ever get interested in tagging my selections. But after litening to the 2 videos that were mentioned I looked at the Inbox a little closer. As you may remember I am looking for materials on information commons for my job so I typed in informmmation commons. That first hit was not very useful but the search box offered other possible selections based on tags from other people and I clicked on one of them. Eureka. The mother lode. 1. An ALA bibliography on information commons, a Educause video from a year ago on information commons. and much more. Maybe these other folks are better searchers or they have more time than me to look around but why shouldn't I profit from their expertise.
I am now trying to tag a least some of my items to get a little order into a growing list favorites. I have no problems creating my own version of subject headings for my favorites without worrying about what LC would do. But I'm not a cataloger by trade. I'm betting there are real cataloguers out there who are cringing at tags.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Method 6

You Tube can be soo! addictive. I have a dozen things to do today and yet found myself watching different videos on YT trying to find a good one (no the best one) to add to my blog. We are in the beginning process of adding an information commons/learning commons into my library. We visited one in person but it is time consuming and expensive and only so many folks get to go. YT allows me to see places I will never see in person while sitting at home. I must have visted 10 this morning. Here's the one I want to keep

This particular video shows a richer and bigger library than we can ever hope to have but I would like to incorporate some of its elements into this one.
Now off to have some fun Do you know how many cat videos there are on YT? I am going to "waste" more time I'm sure.
Here is one last thought As I write this I am listening to Dr. Wesch lecture. The odds are I will never get to sit in a lecture room at the Library of Congress. I will never buy a video copy of this video assuming it is for sale. And yet because of YT, I learn at the feet of a master teacher in the privacy of my home.